TAMPA — With 10 years of experience and business savvy in the corporate arena under her belt, Kiana Wilson dreamed of one day owning a business of her own.
Considering herself an expert in the field of training and coaching others in how to jump start or get ahead in their chosen lines of work, she envisioned herself establishing a small company focused on what she loves and knows best — career development.
With that goal in mind she attended a spring Small Business Information Center of Hillsborough County workshop at the University Area Community Center on how to create a business plan.
It was there she learned about, applied for and was ultimately awarded a $1,000 grant provided by Bank of America in conjunction with the kickoff of the UACDC’s new microloan program.
The grant, Wilson said, was the catalyst she needed to launch A Sharper U, her new home-based business.
“It’s been rough to transition into an entrepreneurial role so this grant is very encouraging,” she said.
The purpose of the microloan program — which will provide $20,000 over the next 12 months to entrepreneurs who either live in or have a business plan to start a small business in the University Area — is to promote economic development.
“Spurring economic activity of local, small businesses will promote self-sufficiency among residents and provide another anchoring stake for residents in the community,” said Dan Jurman, UACDC executive director and CEO.
Those interested in applying are invited to go to www.uacdc .org/index.php/employment/microloan-intake-form.
Eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis by the UACDC Microloan Committee.
The evaluation is based on the business idea, the quality of the business proposal, the applicant’s credit history and the financial need for the funding.
During the process, applicants receive technical business training to help them with their business plans as well as assistance in evaluating the feasibility of their proposed businesses, according to UACDC Director of Finance Bill Seiter.
“The program is designed for entrepreneurs that are passionate about their business or business idea but don’t have access to or the qualifications for traditional financing,” Seiter said.
Ian McDermott, UACDC’s economic development coordinator, said the organization’s goal is to receive approval next year as an SBA Microlending Intermediary, which would provide the UACDC with access to as much as $750,000 of microloan funds annually.
For more information, call McDermott at (813) 558-5212, ext. 310.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]